Monday, October 31, 2005

The Politics of Caching - Part 2

Main Entry: tact
Pronunciation: 'takt
Function: noun
Etymology: French, sense of touch, from Latin tactus, from tangere to touch

1 : sensitive mental or aesthetic perception
2 : a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense, skill and grace in dealing with others

Almost 9 months ago when I found my first geocache, I would have never guessed that someday a fellow geocacher would be so angry after finding some of my caches that he would just quit! There is a little more to it than that, but that will suffice for the short version.

If you feel like sticking around for the long version, here you go! Over the past several months on the normally friendly and passive H.O.T. Geocaching forum, there has been an increase in the number of disagreements (for lack of a better or more P.C. word). Almost all of these have involved one particular cacher named *deleted* in some form or fashion. Without hesitation, I can summarize *deleted*'s philosophy of caching as being an independent sport. He doesn't make any attempt to hide this fact and quite often publicly criticizes those who cache differently.
"Being a Lone-Wolf cacher is the style that I prefer; no phone-a-friends, no geo-herds, no geo-guides, no 'since I was there when it was hidden, I'll claim it', etc.. It's just you vs. the cache. What you 'find' is what 'you' find. No Barry Bonds here!!!!!"
This is an admirable way to play the game, unfortunately, diplomacy doesn't seem to be one of his strengths. While expressing his opinions about the way he plays, his complete lack of tact and respect for others has caused him to have a "reputation" of sorts. This weekend, that reputation reared its head in the ugliest way both in the online logs of two of my caches and in the H.O.T. Geocaching forums.

Sunday afternoon, I was reading some of the logs written by the finders of my caches and came across this in Bad Medicine.
"You get an 'F' for originality, a 'D' for a dumb idea, and a '???' for location. Why put out something that may prove to be a hazard to a child who may innocently stumble upon it???? Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play? *deleted*"
Shortly after reading this, I read another log from *deleted* posted in just BEEhave.
"An absolutely capitol idea for a color scheme; NOTTTTTTT!!!!! TFTC *deleted*."
Normally, I welcome constructive feedback when something might be wrong with my cache or even if someone might disagree with my description or rating of a cache. I'd even be o.k. if they just didn't like the cache. However, I grew up hearing the rule, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," and this surely didn't come across as nice to me. As history would tell, most other cachers who read the logs that day didn't think so either, and it didn't stop there!

*Deleted* decided to bring this attitude back into the forums where he blasted my caches again and made uncivilized comments about my cache hiding in general. While the public forums are not the place for these type of comments, it is certainly better than the cache pages themselves. Soon, one thing led to another and the next thing I know is that half-a-dozen local cachers have joined the conversation.
Not too long after this occured, the board's moderators locked the thread and eventually deleted it, but the murmurs it created continue to rumble. By this morning, I decided it would be best to just let bygones be bygones. To this end, I have deleted all of the questionable log entries by *deleted* and those that referenced *deleted* left by others. In addition, it appears that *deleted* has deleted his account at H.O.T. Geocaching and possibly might have quit geocaching in general.

Now, it is all water under the bridge.

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